Pro Pundits - Zophar

How the Bundesliga can help FPL managers prepare for Project Restart

Fantasy Premier League managers should make sure they keep an eye on the Bundesliga ahead of the Double Gameweek 30+ deadline.

The top-flight of German football was the first major European league to resume play following the continent’s coronavirus outbreak – and there have been plenty of changes.

These alterations to the usual way of playing have had an impact there and they are likely to affect the Premier League too.

I did try my hand at Fantasy Bundesliga to see if I could get some sort of engagement but it just wasn’t the same as our beloved FPL.

However, watching the Bundesliga has convinced me that football without fans could still make for compelling viewing and provide a great distraction during challenging times. 

For example, the meeting between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich was one of the best 90 minutes I have watched, with intensity, aggression and end-to-end action. 

But these matches have also provided a chance to weigh up what factors are likely to affect the Premier League when it returns. Here are a few things I learned…

Home advantage is severely diluted

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In the thirty-six matches played since the Bundesliga’s resumption in mid-May, there have been only eight home victories so far. 

That works out at just over 20 per cent, almost half the season average of 40 per cent. You can read more about that HERE.

This is worrying for teams like Aston Villa and Norwich, who have typically relied on their home crowd for the points this season.

Dean Smith’s men have secured 17 of their 25 points at Villa Park, while 15 of the Canaries’ 21 have come at Carrow Road.

Even worse for Daniel Farke’s troops is the fact that they have scored 76% of their goals at home, the highest percentage in the league. 

The lack of a home crowd could affect teams even higher in the table too.

Everton have picked up 68% of their points at Goodison Park this season and conceded 31 goals on the road compared to just 15 at home. 

Arsenal are in a similar boat. They rank sixth for points secured at home this season (25), but recorded just under half (14) on the road.

It also worth considering the teams that typically do better away from home, especially if they may have a greater opportunity to punish their upcoming hosts.

Chelsea have arguably fallen into this category in 2019/20. While they have the same number of wins home and away this season, they rank eighth for home points and third for road points.

Southampton follow this trend too. They have the lowest number of points accumulated in home games this season (14), but are the sixth-best on the road (20).

Rotation is to be expected, especially for fullbacks and wingers

Five subs allowed when Premier League restarts

Guardiola could follow the trend of Bundesliga managers and rotate more

With short turnarounds, Bundesliga line-ups are unpredictable and players are often left out without any prior intimation of injury. It would be reasonable to expect this in the Premier League too.

Centre-backs have been relatively safe compared to the full-backs so perhaps we need to deviate from the traditional strategy of going heavy on the wide men. 

A deep Fantasy squad may be important moving forward, with your bench players likely to be called upon more often than usual. 

However, the changes to substitutions could even up the threat of rotation.

Now that real-life managers will be able to make five changes in a match (only changing their team on three occasions, of course), the likes of Raheem Sterling (£11.7m) could get more minutes than usual, even if they were benched initially.

It is also worth saying that, in the Bundesliga, the teams at the top-end of the table and those motivated to achieve either the title, European football or safety from relegation have not actually rotated all that much.

For example, key players such as Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski and RB Leipzig attacker Timo Werner have started every match so far, which is somewhat encouraging for anyone worried about Manchester City or Liverpool assets.

Injuries are more likely

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The Premier League could see more injuries after Project Restart

There has been a massive upturn in the number of injuries in the Bundesliga since they resumed the 2019/20 season.

Before lockdown, the German top-flight saw roughly 0.27 injuries per game, but the first round of fixtures played after the restart produced an average of 0.88 per game.

While it may not look like a massive leap, it was still an increase of 226% from before.

While the impact of coronavirus on worldwide sport is largely unprecedented, there is still some evidence to back-up the idea that long periods without competitive action can lead to more injuries.

For this, we travel back to 2011 to study the NFL lockout.

Following a league-wide pay dispute which prevented players from accessing team facilities for 136 days, pre-season training camps were cut from the usual 14 weeks to just 17 days. 

In the first 12 days of training camp, 10 players ruptured their Achilles tendons and the number of injuries during the first month of the new season was more than double the average typically observed over an entire season.

Both of these examples make for rather ominous reading ahead of the Premier League’s return this month.

Not everyone is going sub crazy

While some FPL teams may use more substitutes, it does not mean all of them will

While there does seem to be plenty to worry about when it comes to injuries, it does look as if the better teams are not taking too many liberties with the five substitutes rule.

The Bundesliga’s top two teams in Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig have used only 3.75 subs per match since play resumed, the joint second-lowest rate in the league. 

However, the average number of substitutions made across the league has still gone up by a relatively significant amount.

Before the current pandemic, Bundesliga teams made 2.92 substitutions per match, but this has risen to 4.29 since the restart.

That said, what FPL managers are probably most worried about is assets being brought off before the 60th minute.

Thankfully, the precedent being set in Germany is that not all real-life managers are necessarily making earlier changes.

The average number of substitutions within the first 60 minutes of matches has gone up by only a tiny amount, from 0.62 to 0.88.

Nominated for ‘Best in Fantasy Football – Editorial’ at the Football Content Awards 2020

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707 Comments Post a Comment
  1. the vanisher
    • 3 Years
    26 days, 1 hour ago

    Please explain the hype for the Leno pick. I've seen him in most teams.
    He is most certainly not getting a clean sheet in either game, and should concede more than 2 in the City game.
    Ramsdale may get more points in a single game against an umotivated CP team

      • 6 Years
      26 days, 1 hour ago

      Has 2 games, save points, plays v Brighton who are hardly prolific. Plus there are only 4 DGW keepers of which one plays for a dreadful defence, one plays for a team who have great attackers and one plays for a team full of cheap, nailed defenders.

    2. Firminoooo
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      26 days, 1 hour ago

      RMT have Leno 6.71 and Ramsdale 3.61

  2. bitm2007
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    26 days, 1 hour ago

    Ederson, Leno
    TAA, Baldock, Egan, Targett, Lascelles
    KDB, xxxxxxxx, xxxxxxx, Fleck, Saka
    Kun, Auba, xxxxxxx

    A) Bruno, Grealish, Jimenez
    B) Salah, Douglas Luiz, Pukki

    1. Jekori
      • 5 Years
      26 days, 51 mins ago

      You're BB i suppose? In that case A.

      1. bitm2007
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        26 days, 37 mins ago

        Yes I am.

  3. Kurupt FC
      26 days, 1 hour ago

      Any nailed on defenders with good fixtures gw30+ at 4.3 or less on a BB?? - single gw or dgw

      1. Kurupt FC
          26 days, 1 hour ago

          *Already got lascelles and aarons

        • bitm2007
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          26 days, 1 hour ago


        • HamezMace
          • 5 Years
          26 days, 1 hour ago

          Real slim picking.

        • GARY AND JAMIE
          • 6 Years
          26 days, 1 hour ago

          Ward or Kiko

          1. Kurupt FC
              26 days, 1 hour ago

              Thank you! Cathcart?

          2. Jekori
            • 5 Years
            26 days, 42 mins ago

            I'm not a Norwich follower but Grant (4.1) looks nailed to me? And southampton at home may be decent, but it still is Norwich so a gamble for sure.

        • Neo-Viper
          • 5 Years
          26 days, 1 hour ago

          Ozil or Mahrez.
          Have KDB Aguero not Auba

          1. Firminoooo
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 4 Years
            26 days, 1 hour ago

            I have all 5.

            1. Neo-Viper
              • 5 Years
              26 days, 1 hour ago

              All in then? i will have to lose Salah. Worth it?

            2. Neo-Viper
              • 5 Years
              26 days, 57 mins ago

              Pope Leno
              TAA Egan Saiss Targett Basham
              KDB Ozil Fleck Mahrez Grealish
              Auba Aguero Jimmi

              This is the team, I can field.

              1. Jekori
                • 5 Years
                26 days, 46 mins ago

                If you have BB and WC this is a great team to go for.

                1. Neo-Viper
                  • 5 Years
                  26 days, 20 mins ago

                  I do have both the BB and WC too. Cheers.

        • The Red Devil
          • 5 Years
          25 days, 23 hours ago

          How's this BB team? couple of spots up for grabs

          Leno ederson
          Baldock O'Connell TAA Lascelles Stephens/mings
          Mane kdb grealish Fleck cantwell/saka
          Ayew Aguero Aubameyang

        • jmcclory123
          • 6 Years
          15 days, 3 hours ago

          Saiss and Rashford


          Doherty and Ings?